The Cobbler

The Cobbler

In the city of Chandigarh, there lived a cobbler named Deenu. He was hardworking and efficient, but he had been born dumb. His clients would keep aside shoes and handbags that needed mending till Deenu came by. One day, Sanjay was cleaning out his cupboard and putting aside clothes and shoes that he did not need anymore. He set aside a pair of pants and a pair of slippers for Deenu, knowing that he would come by one of these days. Sure enough on Tuesday, the bell rang and Deenu stood in the doorway beaming from ear to ear, with folded hands as if he meant to say, “At your service, Sir.”

Sanjay’s mother and sisters put out the shoes that were to be mended and Deenu got busy, sitting outside in the porch. Sanjay went out and handed over the pants to him and said, “These are for you Deenu, they’ll fit you well, please wear them.” Deenu smiled and pinched the pair he was already wearing and signalled ‘two’ with his other hand, as if to say, “I already have two.” Then he pushed the packet back into Sanjay’s hand and waved his palm, conveying that he had no use for them. Sanjay looked at him wide eyed and said, “Okay, so you already have two pairs, but I will be happy if you take this one too!” Deenu, opened the zipper of his worn-out sling-bag and showed a pair of pants neatly folded inside and signalled with his fingers to say that, “I am wearing one and I have a spare one in my bag, that’s all I need!”

Realising that he was not going to accept it, Sanjay, gave him his old slippers and said, “Alright Deenu, I’m sure you can use these.” Again Deenu pointed to the shoes that he was wearing and smiled, “I have these,” his eyes seemed to say. “But surely, you will need a change if they wear out”, said Sanjay. He waved his hand and pointed to his cobbler kit and made swift signals to tell that if they needed mending, he was well equipped to do so.

With a sigh, Sanjay picked up the old pants and slippers. ‘Yes’, he thought, ‘these are the basic needs of man but there is no end to our desires. Deenu is more enlightened and satisfied than us. He carries all his worldly belongings on his back. He sleeps wherever night falls, in the lap of mother earth with a blanket of stars to cover him. The cool breeze of the night to caresses his tired body as he listens to the lullaby sung by the crickets and he probably gets more sound sleep than we do. What we all need to do is to exercise a ceiling on desires. The more we succumb to our desires they larger they open their jaws. If our wants are less, we are independent of worries and more at peace with ourselves.’

Swami has put it very simply. When a devotee says, ‘Swami, I want peace’, then Swami replies: ‘I’ stands for ego; ‘want’ stands for desire. Cross out both, what is left? … Peace!!!